What is threatening lake Baikal today

Infographics “RG” / Anton Bookbinders / Anatoly Jurkov


first things First my personal, family, private. Guaranteed by law and authority. Which children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren – before God – will create, cope, grind one large and for all.

– And what’s the lake?!

go figure.

a Gift from the Ministry of natural resources

This pack of photos I received at the Ministry of natural resources and ecology of Russia on New year’s eve (just have to say, not Christmas). Photos was a lot, but this was on top. And cried.

– who Is the same as our earth-mother kills?

Is not the earth is the shore of lake Baikal – said Amirkhan Magomedovich Amirkhanov, Deputy head of Rosprirodnadzor.

– Found where to arrange a landfill.

Photo: AFP. Elimination of consequences of negative impact on the ecosystem of lake Baikal came to a standstill

– This is not a dump, it’s rotted remains of Spirogyra, filamentous green algae, beached opposite the town of Zarechny.

– What thrown?

the Lake.

– our Baykal Rejects all evil.

– Yes, how to say… Evil is…

“the Russian newspaper” already published materials from the Baikal about this attack. Academician M. A. Grachev gave her response: not to miss would. We sincerely hoped that before the environmental disaster will not come. And scientists from the pages of “the Russian newspaper” called:

– Baikal ruin is a crime!


do Not pretend to the role of predictor. But became with time an ardent environmentalist: my eyes many of the buildings were turned into enemies of nature. Among them the most important Union – the Baikal pulp and paper mill.

Lastedny where I was like a magnet in that time it has taken, was the Baikal pulp mill, which was preparing to start…

of Course, the first went to approach, scientists of the Siberian branch of the USSR. Among them was the corresponding member. The Academy of Sciences Grigory Galazii, Director of Limnological Institute. He took hold of this work resolutely. As a veteran of the great Patriotic war.

Before that, they all worked for the war. Recently.

Now fought for Baikal.

what they warned

Siberian researchers published a collective report of “the lake Baikal and the problem of clean water in Siberia”. Material for it was mainly long-term research on the lake, conducted by the Limnological Institute, Institute of hydrodynamics, Institute of Thermophysics and the Computing center of USSR Academy of Sciences; Institute of Oceanology, USSR Academy of Sciences and the Marine hydrophysical Institute Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Institute of geography, USSR Academy of Sciences and the Baikal complex expedition of Moscow state University, Baikal complex expedition of the State hydrological and hydrochemical State institutions of the Hydrometeorological service of the USSR. And other scientific organizations and inspections, dealing with environment protection, reproduction of fish reserves, forestry, protection of the waters of Siberia from industrial pollution emergency vents.

the Public was concerned: in the reservoirs of Siberia is reset daily, over 10 million cubic meters (or over 100 cubic meters per second) of insufficiently treated or not treated industrial wastewater with only the main enterprises of chemical, oil, metallurgical and pulp and paper industry.

There are in the lexicon of people, the word “earth” and Earth with a capital letter. And there is the land of the fathers – it is always and only with a big – country

in order to neutralize such a quantity of industrial wastes, “they should be diluted at least ten-fifteen times?!” (Dilution of industrial sewage drinking clean water was the most common “way of purification” at the time.) That is already on etand purpose in Siberia spent about 1000-1500 cubic meters per second natural fresh water. That is, these needs will require more water in total than the consumption of it in the low-flow period such rivers as the Ob and Yenisei.

Modern treatment of the device, cut the honest truth in the eyes of scientists, are removed from industrial wastewater mainly only legkomyslennyj organic matter (determined by BOD – biological oxygen uptake). These substances are the “Rules of surface water protection”. Trudnoudaljaemye organic matter (as determined by COD – chemical oxygen uptake), which contain large amounts of toxic, it is not discarded (not captured) or partially removed… Completely remain in prostorah… mineral salts. As the peak of scientific and technological progress – the disposal of such industrial wastes is dilution in the water in which they are reset.

And card on the table! “For disposal of 220 thousand cubic meters of “clean” Belarusian cement plant daily effluent must be diluted in 250-280 times.” And even in this batch the concentration of salts will exceed the natural content of the water of the lake.

the authors of the report tried easier to convey to the Soviet arbiters of fate, who pulled your finger on the button “start!” on Belarusian cement plant: that’s the kind of gluttonous, fabulous, Hydra, they admit to the underground well is a great country, and maybe the entire planet – in their small literacy not knowing what they are doing. Keep the bottomless lake is not a hectare of maize at Kursk to sow.

Where there…

I pretended missed when only allowed the Baikal pulp mill and his brother on the Selenga. Statistics of the new production was horrified. No, not Communist Ministers, and scholars: the Ministers will frighten only a record harvest. “Both of these companies will dump directly into the lake or through the ducts every day more than 400 thousand cubic meters of industrial wastewater (or about 140 million cubic meters per year)”. These millions (6.5) and is now hanging from the side of the Khamar-Daban in the basins of the drives on the slope of lake Baikal, threaten man-made disaster the lake and us.


Baikal basin on gave the following statistics for three years at the Belarusian cement plant: 1967 – about 500 cases of discharge into the lake wastewater exceeding the maximum allowable concentration of harmful impurities, in 1968 – 540, and in 1969 was 1186 violations. We immediately began to accustom to a “new vision of the Baikal problem”: for dilution of factory effluents of the Baikal water is more than enough.

Photo: AP Why taiga is burning, and how important is the forest to lake Baikal

In the collective report of Siberian scientists flatly rejected such a simplistic approach to an incredibly complicated complex of the Baikal problems, many of which cannot be known until the end of the century. They brought “tomorrow” for example, which “explodes” in our days.

“So, in the water of lake Baikal chloride contains only about 0.6 mg per liter. And prostorah discharged into the lake, up to 150 mg/l, or 250 times more. Sulfates in prostorah 4-5 times more alkali metals (sodium and potassium) in 22 times, and trudnoudaljaemye organic substances in the 250-280 times higher than in background water of the lake. Salt made with prostorami in the lake in concentrations that are harmful to the life of Baikal organisms, which over millions of years has adapted to a stable environment of life.”

First alert

the First major environmental disaster was the death of more than 6 thousand freshwater Baikal seal – the only mammal of the lake. Moreover, freshwater. At the end of the 80s of the last century on the seals piled pestilence of unknown species. It was in 1987. In 1988, the epidemic has spontaneously ceased. Within six months, the scientists Lina found the cause of the epidemic – “canine distemper”. Never nand the seal did not attack this disease.

It was a first warning: Baykal served worrying about the troubles with the water. Later we went to the other.

We were encouraging: here, stop, then redesigned the plant, and all will be restored on the Lake.

were promised.

In 2013, stopped. All shouted “hurrah!”.

Spirogyra appeared on the shores in 2010. this is what we learned in hindsight.

In 2018 – the Year of ecology in Russia – turned into an ecological disaster.

Worry about it more than all the scientists. Power – not itchy, well, scratching myself at the moment.

What is that? Changing governors and Ministers, and the owner on the lake all there. Nice, intelligent, with a hand.

It is only on the map-scheme, the environmental disaster looks cheerful circles…(see above). Photo: irk.today

Handwriting Spirogyra

As shown by the now long-term research scientists Lina (years 2013-2019), the vast majority of cases, Spirogyra abundantly propagated just opposite the coastal settlements and only in the autumn, the end of the mass influx of tourists on lake Baikal.

O. Timoshkin, doctor of biological Sciences, head of the laboratory of biology of aquatic invertebrates Lina: “For 2019-2020, we have published dozens of scientific, popular scientific articles, lectures, interviews in which we explain the risk of discharge into the lake of insufficiently treated or untreated sewage. These materials clearly indicate that in the coastal area of lake Baikal is developing a large-scale ecological crisis, above all due to thoughtless human activities. Regular observations and collected scientific data leave no doubt that the crisis is progressing”.

numerous examples of established scientists Lina, O. Timoshkin concludes: the only scientifically substantiated reason for the mass development of Spirogyra in the lake is the discharge of untreated sewage and the subsequent (yet) hiddenAya eutrophication.

Now an environmental disaster at Baikal solved. But scientists have only theoretically. The cause and perpetrators: human waste (food) and reset their crude in this divinely magnificent lake. And belongs to us all.

the Two scientists do not argue – offer

Academician Mikhail Grachev from the pages of “the Russian newspaper” appealed to the authorities in 2018 (the Year of ecology in Russia). “What we proposed: to sharply mitigate some of the requirements ordered the Ministry of natural resources order No. 63, which approved regulations limiting the allowable impacts on unique ecological system of lake Baikal and the list of harmful substances related to particularly dangerous for the lake, namely with respect to major ions sodium, magnesium, calcium, sulphate, chloride. The proposal at first glance seems reasonable, because major ions are not toxicants. However, apparently, these requirements were adopted “in accordance with the data of the research”, conducted under the auspices of the Ministry of environment. Otherwise it could not be. These results should now be considered carefully and come to a final conclusion about the feasibility of their change.

There is one more important circumstance – the contents of the main ions, which can be measured with high precision, can serve as an indicator of the total income into the lake more than dangerous anthropogenic contaminants. For example, in developed countries, much attention has been paid recently entering freshwater reservoirs of various drugs, antibiotics, cardiac and hormonal drugs, painkillers… Their thousands of items.

Photo: Gettyimages Anatoly Yurkov: More than half a century we big grass lake Baikal

the Excess of the main ions can be removed from the effluent almost two waysand – by ion exchange (very costly) and reverse osmosis (as in space stations. – A. J.). Reverse osmosis today is the only best available technology and is able to remove from the effluent a wide range of virtually any pollutants… It is already applied in practice (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 11 April 2018, p. 14, “fly in the ointment for Baikal”).

On the international experience refers to (also in the pages of “RG”) and other academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yuri Solomonov, General designer of strategic rockets of the Corporation “Moscow Institute of thermal technology”, the Hero of labour of Russia. Missile troops as civilian products to develop ozone air ozone generators, capable of clean three million cubic meters of water per day. To the level of drinking. In ruble on the Moscow river, for more than three years of running this setup, giving first-class drinking water to Muscovites. The company, created together with Moscow “Moscow ozonatory” – that is already several years successfully develops ozone cleaning technology of waste water to the level of drinking water.

Seven with a spoon

the Second half of the twentieth century stood at the Baikal with a huge spoon. Its pure water needed for all.

And return to lake Baikal sometimes no water, and slush, are dangerous to humans. And all that live in the lake millions of years. And it makes the water cleaner, tears the baby and healthier pills and drops.

Or here’s another… an Underground drain into the lake – about three cubic kilometers (4 percent) part of the incoming balance. Within the catchment area of the Lake (386 sq km) in General, resources have good drinking water can fully meet the need of the population of Buryatia and economic needs. Now in zhilkomhoze of the Republic the share of consumption more than 90 percent. There are, however, in the practice and discharge of municipal and industrial wastewater, leakage, including polluted waters.

They fall in the ground flows are filtered with them and deliver all the associated evil in the next drains (streams, ponds), penetrate deeper into aquifers and, ultimately, moving on the river network and groundwater to the main drena region – the lake Baikal.

what am I doing? Combine left and below him on the depth formed toxic bubble – accumulated production leakage. There are thousands and thousands of cubic meters. They are superior hazard and also make their way to the “Main drains in the region.” More than half a century is is the accumulation. Looking for all sorts of proprietors, to whom all this evil to drive. Yes, more expensive.

it’s not just Spirogyra, then soon the trees on the coast will be up the roots to germinate.

Pushed the tube

In the life of Baikal in our time a significant event happened. The President of the country not allowed to build on the banks of the Grand oil pipe and told me to push it to the North, several hundred kilometers outside the protected area. So no one has ever risked Baikal values that belong to the people. Vital values. Eternally renewable natural resources.

Photo: Boris Slepnev Who and how started the problem of lake Baikal to a standstill

It happened before our eyes and in our presence. Excluded from the biography of the lake itself, the probability of technological disasters.

Before taking this decision, President Vladimir Putin spoke to many active members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, especially with N. P. By Lavrovym and other academics who work and live on a lake and studying this natural phenomenon, you know how powerful it is, but as he is vulnerable. And we all saw and learned. And glad for our country.

But nearly a year on lake Baikal in trouble, even theoretically unexpected, some kind of very thin seaweed-thread Spirogyra brought ecological disaster.

That, and its not beat can?

worse is better?

November 8, 2017, the Minister of natural resources and environment instructed the heads of Rosprirodnadzor and other Ministerial officials to work on the values of maximum permissible concentrations of harmful, hazardous and highly hazardous substances for the unique ecological system of lake Baikal. The plant supposedly stopped, the water stopped, and all the money we spend on water treatment. Where, why – because there is no longer on the Baikal pulp production?

January 19, 2018 Federal service for supervision in the sphere of nature use (Rosprirodnadzor) reported to the Minister on the implementation of important assignments. Writing reported that there was no hypocrisy.

“Verification of treatment facilities of sewage Central ecological zone (area-Impatiens. – A. U.) of the Baikal natural territory have revealed a depressing state of most sewage treatment plants, and also confirmed the fact of non-compliance with any of the existing treatment plants not only to standards of discharge of wastewater, established by the order of the Ministry of environment (No. 63 of 05.03.2010 g), but also the parameters of treatment to which these facilities should clean the drains in their technical capabilities.”

the Rapid proliferation of Spirogyra someone was trying to explain global climate changes. They say, nature’s fault, not the chief, who ordered the litter along the roads eliminated, and the waste of civilization – in the rivers flowing into the lake, to throw. He’s a big, deep, and we have the budget of a small… And the nature of the whole dam.

But the lake surface water temperature over the last 60 years has changed, the temperature rose about 1.3 degrees Celsius – did not take this hypothesis seriously colleagues Oleg Timoshkina himself. Or an increase in the concentration of methane in the water. And very fantasy – increased activity of mud volcanoes on the bottom of the lake, this is it – so their peretak – the entire mass spoil.

Photo: RIA Novosti the Problem with treatment facilities on the shore of lake Baikal is still not solved

the Scientists Lina got no scientifically sound fact which would indicate a climatic cause for the revival of this exotic weed. No!

on the other hand, says Timoshkin, – the world press in Limnology the authors stress that the only scientifically substantiated reason for the mass development of Spirogyra in the lake is the discharge of untreated sewage and the subsequent “hidden” eutropia. The seaweed was “a full-fledged mistress” in many coastal areas to a depth of five meters.

the Most “hot” places for her to become the once beautiful beaches of the Northern lake on the shore of the Bay Senoga – the mouth of the Tyya river. Where at the time and found Angelique Thyssen.

None of us has the right to say that the environmental disaster at Baikal blame the scientists. Do anything they are guilty. Their, frankly, sometimes not even allowed to Baikal business, more and more elbow push: we ourselves with a mustache. (These words of the academician M. A. Grachev commented in the margin: “So it was, and probably will always be.” If to such a degree of unbelief comes the skepticism of the academicians… – A. Y.), And that is how things were, the Baikal interdepartmental Commission pushed in management: let him be errand boy. Especially when the budget share.

call Today for eager people: like on Baikal more profit. Excel and official-businessman and Wheeler-dealer-hapec. But it is clear that the fabulous cost of the lake in its clear water. Endless. Take it – at least sell, though dari, just don’t spit… that’s the point. And they all – no, let’s have “comprehensive capacity in order to achieve system…”

Well, give. Yet again it was the pull, zamorduyut a good thing. It is better not to give than people, nature will not.

…There is in the lexicon of people, the word “earth” and Earth with a capital letter. And there is the land of the fathers – it is always and only a large country. On the territory of our country the Creator has placed Baikal. And what are we doing to him?


Columnist for “Russian newspaper” bramblings Anatoliy Petrovich was born in Pronsky district of the Moscow region on 4 March 1935. What follows from this? Our colleague, the owner of the highest award of the Union of journalists “Golden pen of Russia” celebrates anniversary – 85 years. And notes in accordance with the laws of the profession: published in “RG” another band from the many years of the Baikal loop.

Photo: Victor Vasenin

by the Way, such analytical publications on the state of lake Baikal and its screaming challenges over the past decade, Explorer bramblings printed sea – more than 75. Many of the essays, including a chronicle of the struggle for the purity of the sacred sea, included in his book “Three attempts on Baikal”.

According to Yurkov, the journalist, whoever he was, on newspaper conveyor, lissotriton or newspaper boss, or Vice versa, is always obliged at any time to confirm his calling with the pen. Anatoly Petrovich – the author not only articles, publicistic editions and art books. On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the great Victory came out of his poignant work, “LONG SHORT life” of the postwar health of the family that battlefield came back maimed… barely alive soldiers. There is a particularly vital roll.

Yurkova Congratulating on the anniversary, colleagues expressed their admiration for what he has done for journalism as a whole and for individual colleagues, his students. Our appreciation for his understanding of the meaning of the Association – anywhere, anytime.